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The Department Of State, Foreign Operations And Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FOREIGN OPERATIONS AND RELATED PROGRAMS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008--Continued -- (House of Representatives - June 21, 2007)

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Mr. ISRAEL. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. Let me say at the outset, I have the deepest respect for the opinions expressed in this Chamber. I may not agree with them, but I respect them.

We are all try to reduce unintended pregnancies. We are all trying to reduce abortion. In contrast to what a prior speaker said, there is nobody here in this Congress, right or left, who doesn't have respect for human life; and that kind of verbiage really ought not to be expressed in this Chamber.

I will say, however, that while I respect my opponents' arguments, the arguments do lose some credibility on the issue of fungibility. The fact of the matter is, as has been stated before, not one penny in Mrs. Lowey's bill is spent promoting or providing abortion. It is on in-kind contraceptives.

My friends on the other side of the aisle have said, whoa, whoa, but that is promoting the funding of abortion, because every single in-kind contraceptive that is donated means that there is more money by that country to fund an abortion.

Well, if you are going to apply that argument, my friends, then you better just admit defeat on the global war on terror right now. Because the fact of the matter is that many of the same countries that we are providing in-kind military assistance to to help us in the global war on terror allow for legal abortion. Some even provide abortion services.

Here is a map. If you are going to argue the fungibility issue, then in fact every time that we provide funding to Pakistan, we are promoting abortions, because in some cases abortion is legal in Pakistan.

Every time we are providing military funding and assistance to India, we are promoting abortions. Australia, Japan, South Korea. When we are providing funding for the Colombian antidrug initiative, we are promoting abortions in Colombia under that argument. Canada. Russia. When we provide military assistance to secure loose nukes in Russia, under your argument that money is fungible. They can take our assistance, secure the loose nukes and then use that money in order to provide and promote abortions.

If you use that argument, my friends, you need to go back to your districts today and admit to your constituents that every time you have supported that military aid you have supported abortion, because the money is fungible.

The Czech Republic. Many of you support providing military assistance and in-kind assistance to the Czech Republic for the national missile defense system. They permit abortions. Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, NATO countries, South Africa, the Ukraine.

The fact of the matter is that the fungibility argument has no credibility. You can only have fungibility if you have money. There is no money in this bill for abortion services.

If we are going to have an honest debate on this issue, let's be honest and let's be consistent. What this language does is say we want to reduce unintended pregnancies. We want to reduce abortions. The way to do it is to allow for in-kind contributions of contraceptives. This is important language.

I oppose the amendment, and I urge Members to be consistent.

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Mr. ISRAEL. I thank the gentlewoman.

I do seek a clarification. The distinguished gentleman from New Jersey attempted to clarify, but I am now a little more confused. As I understood his argument, he said that when an organization promotes abortion, we are looking to punish it. But when a country that we happen to like promotes abortion, then we can provide them with $300 million or $400 million in budget support.

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Mr. ISRAEL. Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairwoman.

I just cannot let this go. Pile on and pile on and pile on? Let me tell you what has been piled on, $3 trillion in debt, piled on by the other side.

Growing government? The other side was in charge for the past many years. Their party ran the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives; and they piled on $3 trillion of debt.

And now we hear the unmitigated audacity of suggesting that we are the problem. Mr. Chairman, we are not the problem. We are trying to solve the problem.

And I would say with all due respect to the gentlewoman and to those on the other side who believe that this foreign operations bill is too expensive, is the gentlewoman advocating cutting by 1 percent foreign military financing or international military education and training? Is the gentlewoman suggesting to her constituents that we should slash budgets to professionalize other militaries to assist us in the global war on terror, to make sure that they have the technology and the equipment to help win the global war on terror?

Because if you are suggesting a 1 percent cut or 2 percent cut or 3 percent cut in this bill, you are suggesting a cut in our national security. You are suggesting reducing the amount of military assistance, education, and foreign military sales that we are providing to our allies around the world.

Mr. Chairman, they are costing their own congressional districts jobs, defense contractors who are part of this Nation's defense. We will lose revenues because of these cuts to foreign military financing.

This is not just a foreign operations bill. This is a national security bill. It is a homeland security bill. They go hand in hand, and we should not be advocating slicing off one of those hands while we are fighting a global war on terror surrounded by threats.

We Democrats believe that we need a robust ability to meet that threat, not cut defense budgets as the other side is suggesting.

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Mr. ISRAEL. Mr. Chairman, I think that we're all beginning to figure this out now. When this original amendment was offered, it was advertised as a cut to the foreign assistance budget, despite the fact that Democrats already cut the foreign assistance budget.

Then we were told, oh, except it doesn't really include Israel. We're exempting Israel.

Then we were told, oh, it's Israel, and also, any appropriations that are not required to be appropriated or otherwise made available by a provision of law.

And so we start off with a cut, and then we say, well, not really a cut. We're going to void this and ignore that and sequester this and sequester that.

We're down to Secretary of State licensed chauffeur, my colleagues. That's what we're down to. We're down to the linens at state dinners. If you want to do a cut, do a cut. If my colleagues want to do a cut, do a cut. But don't try and fool the American people.

All we've heard from the other side is we have to ferret out waste, fraud and abuse, except we can't exactly find it, so we'll let you figure out.

Well, the American people have figured it out. You said you don't want to hurt national security, and yet this is a cut to foreign military financing.

You've said you want to win the global war on terror, and yet this is a cut to international military education and training.

You've said you want to cut, but not here, there, or anywhere else.

As our distinguished majority leader said previously, the truth is important, and it ought to be tried every once in a while.

What we have heard over the past several minutes is nothing but a hoax on the American people, and they're not going to fall for it.

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Mr. ISRAEL. Mr. Chairman, I thank my distinguished chairwoman.

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman for bringing this very important amendment to the floor. I think it is a critical reminder to the Palestinian Authority that they need to get their act together and that we are losing patience with them. I want to thank the gentleman for a very constructive dialogue earlier today.

Mr. Chairman, I was at the border of Israel and Gaza when the gate fell down. The Israeli people said to the Palestinians, ``You can take this. You can have it. Try and build capability here. Try and build a country here. Try and build peace here.''

Do you know what they did with it? They sent rockets over the border into Israel. They violated every commitment they made. They didn't develop a capability. They developed Qassam rockets.

Israel is surrounded by threat in the north with Lebanon, where Hezbollah violated the border, kidnapped Israeli soldiers, rained rockets on the north; in Gaza, which has imploded; has an existential threat from Iran, which is our threat as well. In between all those places, you have people running around with grenades strapped around their bodies blowing up themselves and everybody else they can take with them.

Israel has tried to negotiate and negotiate and negotiate, and every time it has negotiated, the result has been an interlocutor that has said, we can't really keep our promises nor can we keep the peace.

So the gentleman's amendment is very, very important, and I want to pledge to work with the distinguished chairwoman, who has had these concerns and who has led this Congress in these concerns for as long as she has been in Congress, with Mr. Wolf, the ranking member, who has led the fight on these concerns, and with the gentleman, so that the Palestinian Authority gets the message that we are losing patience and we will not continue to sit by and allow them to pursue a policy of destructiveness.

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